Spyin' Kop: Liverpool vs Norwich

Posted by Matt8Pie on October 18, 2011, 08:06:11 PM

        Liverpool FC      vs      Norwich City FC
Kick off: 17:30

Saturday 22nd October


Next up in the Premiership for us is newly promoted Norwich City who have, much like Blackpool last season, broken away from what many saw as an easy 6 points before the season started and have been in very impressive form since rejoining the league for the first time in six seasons.

Under Paul Lambert, who joined the Canaries in August 2009 after his Colchester side beat them 7-1, Norwich have achieved back to back promotions which is not to be overlooked. They have played with a good, attacking style of football with freedom at times and have a manager installing a belief within the squad and a pass and move game that the fans like to see.

We can find comparisons in the two clubs where both Liverpool and Norwich have flirted with the possibility of administration in recent years, both have a very passionate and loyal fanbase, and both have had influential Scottish managers save them from some very dark times and brought a new light to the clubs. Okay, maybe we haven't been relegated and don't have a cook as an owner, but I hope you get the picture.

This season, Norwich have recored 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses so far but have been more than a fair match for their opponents with impressive displays away at Chelsea and Manchester United where only a bit of better finishing could've seen them nick a draw or perhaps more. With the same amount of fixtures when they were last in the premiership, Norwich hadn't notched a win so it looks to be a very different affair for them this time around.

I visited the Pink'un Forum for Norwich City fans (it's a newspaper, I swear) and asked for their opinions. It's quite a long one but I always enjoy this feature so thought I'd get as many answers down as possible and they were a sound bunch. Thanks to all of those who got involved for your articulate responses!

1. To start with, Norwich currently sit in 9th place in the Premier League going into this game and haven't rolled over like many teams do when coming up to the Premiership. What have you made of your season so far?

Jimmy Smith: Progressively getting better and better, from scraping a point with a hard working but ultimately lacking in quality performance vs Wigan to 3 wins in the last 4, i only hope it can continue.

splutcho: Obviously encouraging, but at the same time, there's a long, long way to go. I think a lot of opposing fans expected us to be whipping boys and the good start will have come as a surprise, however I think a few Norwich fans knew we had this kind of play in us.

judderman: In every season so far we've taken a few games to hit upon a first team and or shape that will really carry us forward. 2 years ago in League 1 Wes Hoolahan was on the subs bench, then Lambert brought him on for the last half an hour against Leyton Orient with the score at 0-0, stuck him behind the front 2 in a diamond formation, and we won 4-0. Defining moment! Last season we kept the diamond, but it took a while to pick the starting team after we lost our first match at home. This time a fairly lacklustre performance against WBA saw us change the formation and bring in the current 4-2-3-1 that we're implementing, and it's served us well so far. The Premier League will of course be a far bigger test and I imagine we'll have to chop and change a few more times yet. But I do hope that we can continue to compete well and be hard to beat, standing us a decent chance of keeping ourselves above the relegation zone.

mozzaman: With a manager like Lambert, and the young, ravenous team he ha built, it was really hard to know what expectations were at the start of the season. Suffice to say, we are all well pleased with results and performances. But for a few penalty decisions and red cards, we could have had an even better start.

nutty nigel: Think we are exceeding all expectations but we are where we deserve to be.

2. You've played some great football over the past couple of seasons and it looks like you're not going to change the style of play you've become accustomed to under Paul Lambert in the big league. How important do you think this is for continuing your progression and success?

Jimmy Smith: I think it's important to have a solid base to the team, but we have had to adapt to premiership life. The introduction of 2 wingers and a lone man up front has complimented our strong passing and moving game well. We can't show too much respect in this league, or else we'd just get beat 1-0 every game.

splutcho: It's just a case of what works for us, and its the way we're trained to play I guess, it's working, so if it ain't broke don't fix it.

mozzaman: We have in fact changed our style quite a bit. For example, I went to Huddersfield away in League 1 and we were expansive in our passing game and super attacking, leaving the defence prone to attacks that don't come like they do in the PL. Old Trafford away this season, we played a super defensive system, allowing for long balls and quick breaks. We had several chances, and the containment plan almost worked. We have a great underlying passing style, but Lambert and Culverhouse use pragmatism, taking each opposition on their merits and playing accordingly. A mix of the tried and tested and sensible pragmatism. We're progressing well.

SnakepitCanary: It's very important. Paul Lambert made sure we signed all our players early for this campaign to ensure that they can have time to fit into the group and learn each others games, and it's started to show. A prime example is down the wings were Naughton and Bennett have gained a good partnership as well as Pilkington and Tierney. He's actually changed our formation from last season from the diamond to a 4-5-1.

Shack Attack: I think we've changed slightly in that we are not quite so deliberate with the ball. We can mix things up a bit now and play long or short as there is more pace in the side. We'll never become a Stoke but we are adaptable.

3. We know a thing or two about Scottish managers and you seem to have some manager in Paul Lambert. Thinking back, what were your initial thoughts when you managed to pluck him away from Colchester United after that horrible defeat, and did you ever expect him to achieve what he has so far?

Jimmy Smith: I thought "good, a genuine manager who has worked his way up to this job with a good track record.I wonder how he'll handle the bigger stage however." I had always respected his talents as a player.

splutcho: Initially, I didn't know much of his career as a manager, and didn't really know what to expect. I still felt confident of being promoted from League 1 as it was early days, but last season was a dream, I think anyone expecting that would have been asking too much! Lambert has been huge for us and will go down as one of our greatest managers.

mozzaman: No real expectations. Things were so bad we were reeling. I was happy about Bryan Gunn being ousted, both for Norwich and for him, but beyond that many of us knew very little about Lambert.

SnakepitCanary: I'll be completely honest, I didn't want him. He hadn't achieved anything much of note apart from getting League Two Wycombe into an FA Cup Semi Final. I never expected him to get us promoted to the Premiership in two seasons. But I put my hands up, he and his coaching staff he has brought have been revelations.

dhickl: I think if anyone told you that they expected him to achieve back to back promotions, they are lying.

nutty nigel: I thought he would be better than our last two scottish managers.

Shack Attack: I was pleased that we had brought in a manager who had done his coaching abroad and who might have a few different ideas. I didn't think we would achieve back to back promotions but looking back our progress seems perfectly logical. Paul Lambert is a very special manager.

4. Given that you are newly promoted to Premiership, you've had some great success over the past couple of seasons and with some style. What would you deem a successful season this season?

Jimmy Smith: 17th and survival, no word of a lie. I think we could do better, but hand me survival in our first season and i'd bite your hand off. Maybe i'll be more ambitious and say that we won't be involved in any final day drama.

splutcho: As promising as the start is, a successful season will still be 17th or higher, staying up this year is vital, with the greater aim being to become an established top flight side.

mozzaman: Staying up.

SnakepitCanary: Not getting relegated. We are pretty realistic fans at Carrow Road especially with the last 7 years we have experienced so everyone would love us to stay up. 17th+

Judderman: We've got to see survival as a successful season, but that doesn't stop us from looking to have a REALLY successful season if possible. We did last year! But I don't think anyone would turn down 17th on goal difference.

Shack Attack: I hate this idea that 17th is 'an achievement' and I doubt you'll hear Lambert talking like that around the players. I'd like to see us finish mid-table at worst.

5. We've seen a lot of your support from Norwich travelling to your away games and you seem to really enjoy your days out. What's it like being back in the Premiership? What does it mean to you?

Jimmy Smith: It's great, although it's an absolute ball ache to get away tickets because of our great fan base.

splutcho: We travel in numbers! It feels like we belong here. I can't speak for everyone but I try not to think of them as "days out", we're there for the points.

SnakepitCanary: It means alot. Being back in the Premiership is what everyone wants and with our uncertain financial future, where we were close to administration when we were in League One, it has helped us reduce our debt. It's gone down from £24 million to £16 million in a few years and this is without the Premiership money, where they are forcasting it will go down again to £10 million and potentially a ground expansion to 35,000 which is desperately needed as we have consistently sold out for the last 7 years.

judderman: We have a decent fan base, and have travelled in numbers away to Stockport and Man Utd alike in the last couple seasons. I always enjoy away games more because the atmosphere created in the away end is usually better than at Carrow Road. Not because it's a day out, but because people have travelled a long way (our distances to travel away are one of the highest in the league) to support their team and give it their all.

dhickl: I think the fact that whether we are in the PL or League 1, you struggle to find an empty seat in the Norwich area of the ground (home & away) says it all about how much football means to people from Norfolk. So I think it's the place we should be.

6. It's been 6 years since you were last in the Premiership, did you expect it to take this long to return? What's it been like for you with two relegations and double promotions within such a short space of time?

Jimmy Smith: Crazy, a real emotional roller coaster, I thought we'd be down longer, especially after that 7-1 loss, i must confess i lost faith that day.

splutcho: It's never easy to bounce straight back. The Championship is a really competitive league, as we found out. The relegations hurt, but then the last two years have been a great time to be a City fan. At least there's never a dull moment.

mozzaman: Relegations felt inevitable with the decline the club was in. It was terrible to watch the club overrun with idiots, mercenaries, incompetents and conceited gits. The change-around, with new executive leadership (new Chief exec and team - the key to our success) and management, was rapid and welcome. League 1 was great, winning games and playing well was a welcome respite. Last season was a dream. These are good times. With Norwich, the steep declines and constant let downs colour the subsequent achievements. We savour them all the more.

SnakepitCanary: It's been a real rollercoaster. We have suffered real bad times and more recently good times. I thought it wouldn't take too long for us to get back up but the board made very bad decisions appointing Roeder and Grant.

judderman: There wasn't a great feeling around the club when we got relegated, but we should have done better in the first season down with the players we had (the likes of Dean Ashton). But we knew it was a tough league and I didn't expect to bounce back up. A couple seasons ago we didn't know when we would next be up here.

dhickl: The best thing that happened was relegation to League 1, we were just sitting mid table in the Championship, expecting things to improve, but they never did.  Relegation forced the required changes.

nutty nigel: Expectation is the curse of football. Try and enjoy each season on it's merits.

Shack Attack: We probably needed it to get rid of the deadwood. Sometimes you need a set of circumstances to come together to create the right situation for success. If we had carried on surviving in the lower reaches of The Championship for another year I'm not convinced we would have been where we are now.

7. How confident are you of achieving your aims this season?

Jimmy Smith: At the moment, i'm very positive, although the pessimist in me is always on edge, we're only 1 bad run of results away from being sucked right back into the bottom few.

splutcho: You've always got to be confident! There's a really good vibe around the place at the moment, and if we can keep riding the wave I see no reason why we can't remain in this league.

mozzaman: We will stay up.

SnakepitCanary: Very confident. Anything is possible with Lambert and the board we have now.

judderman: I'm very hopeful. I think we've done a good start, but it doesn't look like we've played out of our skin - it looks like we've set a standard we should be able to continue to play at.

Shack Attack: Depends what our aims are. We'll stay up comfortably

8. Will you miss your derby game this season, or is it great to gloat about being back in the Premiership?

Jimmy Smith: No, i'm happy to gloat 9-2, 9-2, 9-2!!!!

splutcho: A bit of both. In an ideal world I'd like to see the derby game in the Premier League, though I doubt many will agree.

mozzaman: Both. I'd like them to join us next year so we can better our goal difference.

SnakepitCanary: Well after our 4-1 and 5-1 wins over them and now being back in the Premiership whilst they are facing financial trouble and they can't fill half there ground, Ipswich haven't had much to laugh about over the past few years! It would be good to have derby games back in the Premiership again but they can stay down there for a few seasons yet whilst we become a stable Premiership club, if there is ever such a thing!

judderman: I'm happy to know that the last time we played them we beat them 5-1 at their place.

dhickl: No I will not miss them, despite how entertaining the games were last season (4-1 & 5-1)

nutty nigel: We KNOW they're watching

Shack Attack: I'm probably in the minority but I honestly couldn't give a toss about Ipswich. As long as Norwich are doing well I'm happy.

9. I can't not mention that Delia moment. What do you think of when you see it replayed on TV and talked about by other fans?

Jimmy Smith: Bloody embarrasing, especially since some of my mates are such plastic football fans and that's all they know about my great club, constantly getting ribbed about that even still! At least we know who owns our club and that she genuinely has a passion for us and our best interests at heart.

splutcho: Embarrassment, "not this again", etc. Truth be told, Delia can do as she pleases, she's bailed us out on a few occasions and she's clearly a proper fan.

mozzaman: Bah, got thick skin to this now. Everybody loves Norwich, where I live and work in London. Hugs in bars and clubs from strangers when I ever wear my Norwich hoodie. Delia has a lot to do with this. She can do whatever she wants. To 98% of us, she is a heroine.

SnakepitCanary: We get it alot. Not as much recently but we are used to it. It is really cringey but then again what other club has the genuine passion that she has shown. For a woman who isn't worth alot (in business terms) to pump £13 million over the last 15 years you cannot slate the woman. She's always at the games.

judderman: I like Delia, although I do wish she hadn't done that! She's supported us well. I just wish MotD wouldn't insist on showing a clip of her every match!

dhickl: At least we have an owner who cares about the club - could you see Gillette or Hicks caring?

Shack Attack: It's not her finest moment but I don't have a massive problem with it. Some City fans seem think it is a huge embarassment and get quite aggressive when it is brought up but at least she cares. I'd rather have her than the Glazers or Hicks/Gillett.

10. Onto the fixture, then. The last time Norwich beat Liverpool was at Anfield on the last game before the Kop was reconstructed. Any memories of that day? I was only a wee pecker and remember David James frustrating you.

Jimmy Smith: Just about too young for that, but i've seen the videos and that was a great goal!

nutty nigel: I remember Culverhouse, Bowen, Woodthorpe, Polston, Prior and Ullathorne frustrating Liverpool.

Shack Attack: I was still playing on a Saturday back then so I don't have much of a memory of the game. But I can recall the goal and know that plenty of Liverpool fans know the name of Jeremy Goss.

....and Smith must score: Unfortunately I didn't make the game but I remember being impressed at seeing all the celebs being wheeled out pre-match when I watched the highlights on MOTD. I expect your friends along the M62 are a bit green that nothing similar was done when the terracing on the Stretford End disappeared.( lol ). I believe that the most noise during the match was the sound of drills, hammers and chisels as fans cheerfully hacked pieces off the Kop for souvenirs. Perhaps the funniest thing reported was when we scored and " You're supposed to let us win " rang round the ground.

11. To restore a little bit of Anfield faith, you haven't beaten us since! But after your cracking display at Manchester United which was great to see, and a good win this weekend, you must fancy your chances?

Jimmy Smith: I'm pretty confident actually, Liverpool away isn't an easy game for anyone, so i won't get carried away, although a 2-0 win would put us above you!

splutcho: I do, very much, we've won 3 out of 4, played some good stuff, and I think you have a game on your hands!

mozzaman: No one knows what is going to happen on Sat. With Norwich, not even Norwich fans could have predicted some of the results we have pulled off. One thing for certain, we will play well and the game will be epic. That seems to be a constant in our games.

SnakepitCanary: We are cautious about our chances but we really think we can do this. It is widely documented that our team has run the most yards in the Premiership this season which is a fantastic fact and I think this will help us get a foothold in the game, as well as us playing 5 in midfield. We will surprise you.

judderman: I'm confident we'll play a good game. Could still lose with that though, as we did at Old Trafford. I'd take a point!

dhickl: Not only have we got a few wins (3 in the last 4), we are playing well and making the chances, so I don't think you can write off Norwich, but I have to say it is not a game we expect to get anything from so a point or three would be a bonus.

nutty nigel: Of course we'll win! Don't doubt it for a second

Shack Attack: We'll give you a game as Paul Lambert will never send out a team to park the bus. I think we can get a result. Especially with Lucas suspended and Suarez maybe taken out of the firing line?

12. Grant Holt was brilliant last season for you but hasn't managed to hit those heights yet this season. Is it a case of sleeping giant or is it too much for him so far?

Jimmy Smith: Early days yet, although i do feel that Steve Morison is growing into that lone strikers role very well. Holty will have his moments for us this year though, and he's still a top class pro to have around the club and already a club legend.

splutcho: To be honest, he's being kept out of the side by the fantastic Steve Morison. Once he gets going I'm sure he'll have his part to play though.

mozzaman: He will have some input this year. The guy's a hero and will get/take his chance this season. In the current run though, he will be a sub to see the games home. It will take injuries or a bad run for this to change.

SnakepitCanary: I don't think it's too much for him, he just doesn't fit into our new system. We need someone with more pace up front and Morison gives us that as well as Holts intensity and aerial ability. Holt didn't get too much chance to impress before he got dropped.

judderman: He's always grown into his season has Grant Holt. I'm sure he'll score some crucial goals this season! Baring an injury to Steve Morison though, he won't start at Anfield

nutty nigel: He'll come off the bench and show you himself!

Shack Attack: Again I may be in the minority here but I think it may be a step to far for Holty. Our three wins have come without him and the selection of Morison allows us to play both our wingers and Wes Hoolahan. Top bloke and magnificent for us over the past two years but maybe not quite good enough for the Premier League. Hopefully he will still get a couple more important goals before the end of the season though.

13. What players do you see as your dangermen, and similarly, what players of ours are you worried about?

Jimmy Smith: Wes Hoolahan is easily our most gifted player, other than that, Johnson will tire anyone out he's put up against, even Gerrard, Morison will be a handful and our patched up defence has been excellent recently, especially Russell Martin playing out of place at Centre Back.

splutcho: Skrtel and Carragher will have their hands full with Morison and Hoolahan is the spark in the side, I'd say Anthony Pilkington though, he's had a great season and is on fire at the moment.

mozzaman: Hoolahan, Morison, and the wingers. Fox if his distribution is as good as it can be. Johnson will annoy the crap out of whoever he is assigned to.

SnakepitCanary: I think we have quite a few, but I'll go with Wes Hoolahan for this game. He's recently been appointed our captain and he is just amazing. He plays just behind the striker and has a free role. What is so good about him is that he works so hard. He's like an Irish Park Ji-Sung, but better. If he was playing for one of the top 4, everyone would rave about him.

I'd also say another danger man even though he does play in defence it's Marc Tierney. He is our left back and he has everything you would want in a left back. Good defensively and attacking with a high work rate. He's the front runner for our Player of the Season award and he's brilliant. Everyone is touting him to be understudy for Ashley Cole in a few years, if the Irish don't get their hands on him first.

judderman: Most of our opportunities will probably come through Wes Hoolahan, so he's got to be the man to watch. However as pointed out, we also have wide men these days so Pilkington's on great form, and Bennett can also pose a threat (although up against Enrique that will be tough). I'm worried about Suarez really tormenting our back line, and Adam or Gerrard putting some great through balls in.

dhickl: I think our key at the weekend will be balls in from the wings - Bennett & Pilkington.
If he starts the player to watch out for would be Gerrard, even when he's not at full fitness he is a danger.

nutty nigel: Our team will give you no time to settle and feed off your mistakes. I expect us to be in front early and hanging on at the end. The only danger I can see is if your 'keeper plays a blinder.

Shack Attack: Depends on how you define 'dangermen'. Most of our goalscoring threat seems to come from midfield at the moment but they would not be able to provide that threat were it not for the work of Morision or the passing and awareness of David Fox. And that's before you even consider the best left back in the Premier League in Marc Tierney or Franz Martin. We don't really have a 'dangerman' but we do have a 'dangerteam'.
As for you I rather like Suarez. I know he's a little bit annoying (and if the Evra allegations are proved I will withdraw my appreciation) but he is fascinating to watch. He should be a wrestling heel. Maybe fighting in a mask? I'd put him in a tag team with Ballotelli!

14. Norwich City have quite a good record of players passing through and going onto having high profile careers and we've even had some pass through our ranks such as the likes of Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy. What did you make of Dani Pacheco last season, and what hopes do you have for Daniel Ayala?

Jimmy Smith: Pacheco had that bit of class that we needed to help us get over the line, i'd have happily seen him come here permenantly, but i wish him well. Not heard much about Ayala, but if he's as good as his more famous namesake, i'll be a happy man!

splutcho: Pacheco was great, not just on the pitch but a great attitude as well. Perhaps he's a little lightweight, but he has the potential to be a great player. It's hard to say with Ayala, he limped off in the one game he played for us and hasn't been seen since. I hear good things, and Lambert doesn't often sign a dud, so I'm sure he'll be great.

mozzaman: Pacheco was great for us but can't see him getting into this season's team. Ayala, to early to say.

SnakepitCanary: Ah Dani boy. I loved the guy. It's rare for a loan player to give so much passion for the cause in such a short space of time. He fitted in straight away which contributed to us thrashing Scunthorpe 6-0 last season. I wish we can get him back, he is gifted.

I'm looking forward to see Ayala. He got injured within 15 minutes in his first game in the Carling Cup so we haven't really seen him but from what Derby and Hull fans have said he should be a good signing.

judderman: Pacheco was really well liked, even by those who didn't want to sign him permanently. Whether he'll be a really good player or not remains to be seen, but he will be remembered fondly here. He's coming back to visit and watch a game over Christmas (he tweeted) so still has a good relationship with the club. And he scored against Ipswich! Ayala, no one really knows about, he's injured. Did well in the Championship last season by the sounds of it.

dhickl: Pacheco is a skillful player who I think should have been given more of an opportunity at LFC.  As for Ayala, due to injury it is difficult to say.

nutty nigel: Only saw Ayala in the game he got injured against MKDons so would rather reserve judgement. Pacheco was a real star while he was here.

Shack Attack: Pacheco was decent without ever being amazing. But the thing that elevated him above some of the loanees we have put up with in the past is that he genuinely seemed to enjoy his time here. Lambert doesn't bring in players who can't be arsed. I've not seen enough of Ayala to comment.

15. Do you have any fond memories of previous fixtures with Liverpool?

Jimmy Smith: seeing the video of Justin Fashanus wondergoal is always good, other than that, ryan jarvis's moment of glory last time we played was nice to watch.

mozzaman: The Jarvis goal from last time around.

SnakepitCanary: I remember Baros scoring a screamer against us in 2004. We have only played you twice in nearly 20 years so I don't have any other memories unfortunately!

judderman: Not of the 3-0 no show at Anfield last time! As for the game at Carrow Road, it's amazing to think we were trying to compete in the Premier league with that team (I've just looked at the squad). I seem to remember it being a generally poor game, but our young 18 year old striker Ryan Jarvis - now plying his trade at Walsall - scored a peach of a goal.

nutty nigel: Not too many good memories. Obviously the goals from Fash and Gossy. First time I went to Anfield it was drab 0-0 until Cormack got your winner in 90th minute. That was a tedious affair as were many others in the 70's and 80's.

Shack Attack: A 2-1 win at Carrow Road in 1987 (?) when Trevor Putney and Kevin Drinkell scored for us. Ruel Fox scored a beauty past Bruce Grobbelaar in a 1-0 win later when Lee Power made his debut (I think). Hysen getting sent off for hauling down Flecky. I was at Anfield a couple of years later (sat very high up in one of the home stands) when Jan Molby scored a ridiculous goal from the touchline and Darren Beckford scored a rare goal for us. We used to give you and United a game on a pretty regular basis.

Purple Canary: Some games stick in the mind. My first -and so far only - trip to Anfield. I was sitting in the middle of quite a few home fans, and we really didn't touch the ball for 20 minutes or so. Then we put together this neat triangular passing movement down the left-hand side. And this Liverpool fan cried out, in a mixture of annoyance and concern: "Oh, for heaven's sake, don't let them start playing football!"
I think it was "for heaven's sake". A phrase like that, anyway.
And later the goal. Straight out of the Wimbledon playbook. A massive Gunn kick down field. Ronnie Whelan helpfully doing a Lothar Matthaeus and heading it across goal to Andy Townsend. And that was that.

BlyBlyBabes: Yes. Here's one for the history buffs.
Beating you 2-1 at Carrow Road in the old 2nd Division in 1960-61. Bert Slater, Jimmy Melia and , of course, the great Roger Hunt spring to mind.
We both just missed promotion that year with you finishing 3rd and Norwich 4th as I recall.
Can't recollect who scored the goals though.

16. We've heard some familiar songs being sung from the Norwich crowd this season. What songs are we expecting to hear this Saturday from your travelling faithful?

Jimmy Smith: On The Ball City, and something about 'really loving' Grant Holt, can't think how that goes...

splutcho: On The Ball City will undoubtedly be the song of choice, it's the oldest song in football still being sung. Other than that, the Depeche Mode song has caught on big time around here, though I'm not the greatest fan.

mozzaman: On the Ball City, EIEIEIO, Just can't get enough (although Im not sure why we sing this, its not really our song)

canarycol: Are you watching Lawrenson are you watching Lawrenson LOL 

17. What do you make of Liverpool this season? How do you rate our recent summer signings?

Jimmy Smith: They've made a promising start, real contenders for getting back that 4th spot, i can't see much more i'm afraid, although Gerrards return could prove crucial. The summer signings look good, slightly expensive, but some good investment for the future with the likes of Henderson and Coates.

splutcho: Definitely an improvement on last year but not yet title challenging. A step in the right direction though. The players you've signed are good, no doubt, but considering how much you paid, they ought to be!

mozzaman: Top 6 is well possible this season. You looked excellent going forward against Man U. Suarez encapsulates the best and worst of the premiership. Diving and irritating, but great with the ball at his feet. I hope your young and expensive signings come good for you - seems like a sensible policy for the future to buy the likes of Henderson etc.

SnakepitCanary: You've done some great business and it's pretty envious watching on. Adam and Downing are good quality signings. Enrique and Coates are bargains as well.

judderman: I think Liverpool are a stronger side than last year, although I do think they have paid over the odds for Henderson and Carroll, and could have used the money to be even stronger. I don't get the impression that Liverpool this season are going to put on many really poor performances, or get turned over much when they shouldn't, like last year.

dhickl: There have been one or two unexpected results (Stoke/Tottenham) which may come back to haunt you, unless you make up for it on the home fixtures.
The summer signings are probably better value than your winter ones!

Shack Attack: I think you have signed a couple of decent players in Luis Enrique and Downing. Not sure about Henderson or Carroll. You'll be fighting it out for fourth place with Spurs, Arsenal and Norwich.

18. A pretty obligatory question but out of our current squad, barring Gerrard and Suarez, what player would you most like to see in your team?

Jimmy Smith: Hmm, probably Carroll, just don't let him sit near Chris Martin and get any ideas of going out for a night out...

splutcho: I've always rated Dirk Kuyt, so I'll say him.

mozzaman: Adam and Bellamy. I'd love to see him here again. I remember him scoring a lovely header against Oxford at the Manor Ground many years ago and feel in love, as it were. A swansong would be pretty glorious.

SnakepitCanary: Suarez, oh wait. Haha. I'd probably say Reina who is one of the best goalkeepers in the World.

judderman: Probably a good defender like Skrtal. Or perhaps Carroll - I know I said he cost too much but I think he could still lead the line very well for us! He'd have to wait for Morison to play poorly first though.

dhickl: Actually I would like Carroll, if he behaves himself.  Strangely enough, in 2008 we made a £1m bid, but that was rejected and we wouldn't match the Toon's £2.5m valuation.  Still don't understand how he goes from £2.5m to £35m in 2 years.

nutty nigel: Bellamy

Shack Attack: I'd take Bellamy back. Or Dirk Kuyt.

Barnett is King: I'd love to see Charlie Adam in our team. What a player. Dirk Kuyt also impresses me. Martin Kelly young right back looks like lots of potential. Carroll a waste of money. Gerrard has had a poor couple of seasons, but has been injured.

Liverpool missing something, Suarez is undoubtedly an awesome striker, but you seem to be missing a strike partner, as it would be hard for him to play up front on his own. I like Kuyt but he often plays right wing?

19. What do you think your weak links are, and where do you see ours being?

Jimmy Smith: This may suprise a few, but i think Reina can be pretty suspect at times. He makes some daft choices. As far as we're concerned, i'd have to say our defence doesn't always hold up, but that would be overly critical. Maybe our strikers, we could do with someone who could be relied on to score a few more goals, like Darrent Bent, even if he did used to play for Ipswich!

splutcho: We haven't kept a clean sheet so far, so it's definitely been in defense. We make too many silly mistakes at the back, but they're slowly being eradicated. I also see Liverpools weak point being at the back, without meaning to offend, as I know he's a legend around your parts, I think Carragher is going to struggle with Morison, I don't rate him at all.

mozzaman: I think we could get behind your defence with surprising ease with our pace and gameplan.

Our weakness, defence. Its good, but not that good and pretty makeshift.

SnakepitCanary: This is a very hard one actually. It's not a player but we do need to be more clincal as demonstrated at Chelsea and Man U. We also don't keep clean sheets but we were very unlucky Saturday as we couldn't do much about their goal. That was their only real chance, too.

judderman: I think our weakness is defence, but we've shored up fairly well with the newer formation which offers more protection. That doesn't the fact that last year our defence was our weak point, and this year it's even more makeshift with a full back at centre back currently! I think the weakness of most opposition Norwich will face will be in whether they underestimate us or not. That's certainly happened before, and we love it!

dhickl: No clean sheets and 5 penalties are all you need to know - our back line has not yet settled, partly due to injury.  I think the Norwich wingers are going to be a handfull for the Liverpool defence (just ask Man U)

Shack Attack: I said we didn't have any 'dangermen' and I don't believe we have a 'weak link'. We win and lose as a team. Carragher might be yours but he will be stronger than any defender Morison has faced so far. If Gerrard is forced deeper with Lucas being out then that weakens your team also.

20. What type of game are you expecting this weekend?

Jimmy Smith: I'm expecting an open game, decided on by a couple of bits of class.

splutcho: I expect plenty of chances at both ends, it certainly won't be goalless. Hopefully it will be a good game.

mozzaman: Rapid, competitive, goals.

SnakepitCanary: A very quick game against to similarly tactical sides. I know you guys like to press the opposition like we do. It won't be boring, anyway. Expect both sides to score.

judderman: Like the others, I think most games Norwich play in are going to have chances. We'll create, but you will certainly have the chance to do so. Liverpool will have the lions share of possession, but we will create chances on the break and have our spells.

dhickl: Fast paced and open, don't be surprised if there is 4 or more goals, just don't know who will score them though

nutty nigel: Norwich in front early but maybe hanging on at the end.  Nowich have scored 80% of our goals in the first hour while Liverpool have scored half theirs in the last half hour.

Shack Attack: We'll come and have a go and if two or three of you lads are a bit too relaxed about playing a newly promoted side at home then we'll turn you over. If you're switched on from the start then we might let you off with a draw. It certainly won't be dull.

21. Finally, what's your score prediction for the game?

Jimmy Smith: Heart says 2-0 Norwich, head says 3-1 Liverpool

splutcho: We'll snatch a late winner, 1 - 2 to City. May the best team win!

mozzaman: We could get a point, but will probably lose by the odd goal. It's so hard to say with the New Norwich

SnakepitCanary: I don't particularly like predicting the scores as I always jinx them in the past. I shall be wearing my lucky Norwich boxers though and we have won every match I have worn with them on so be afraid, Liverpool!

judderman: 1-1 (my hopeful score)

dhickl: Heart says 2-2
Head says 3-1

nutty nigel: Norwich in front early but maybe hanging on at the end.  Norwich have scored 80% of our goals in the first hour while Liverpool have scored half theirs in the last half hour.
Now mattie8 I've got a question for you. Was the goal against Sunderland the first scored by a beach ball in a Liverpool game since Jan Molby?

Shack Attack: Liverpool 1 Norwich 2
Good luck for the rest of the season.


Hope you enjoyed it.

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